Morocco
morocco2


Though just an hour's ride on the ferry from Spain, it seems at once very far from Europe, with a culture – Islamic and deeply traditional – that is almost wholly unfamiliar. Throughout the country, despite the years of French and Spanish colonial rule and the presence of modern and cosmopolitan cities like Rabat and Casablanca, a more distant past constantly makes its presence felt. Fes, perhaps the most beautiful of all Arab cities, maintains a life still rooted in medieval times, when a Moroccan empire stretched from Senegal to northern Spain, while in the mountains of the Atlas and the Rif, it's still possible to draw up tribal maps of the Berber population. As a backdrop to all this, the country's physical make-up is also extraordinary: from a Mediterranean coast, through four maintain ranges, to the empty sand and scrub of the Sahara.

It's a safe and politically stable country to visit: the death in 1999 of King Hassan II, the Arab world's longest serving leader, was followed by an easy transition to his son, Mohammed VI. And it's difficult for any traveller to go for long without running into Morocco's equally powerful tradition of hospitality, generosity and openness.

(Rough Guide)
          
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